We wish you a tacky Christmas

Why is Christmas in Britain so tacky? Why do our towns become over-run with tasteless shit in the six weeks or so prior to December 25th? Are we incapable of celebrating the festive season with style? Many European cities do it well, so why can't we?

In my home town of Leicester, imbeciles cover their houses with as many 12-foot high illuminated Santas and flashing neon reindeers as they can find. Here in Aberdeen (and, I suspect, every other town in the UK) it is just the same, the city centre bedecked in gaudy lights and dreadful gifts. It's as if we've obeyed our geography and taken a bit of northern Europe and a bit of north America. Unfortunately, having borrowed the simply stylish trees-and-lights approach of Europe we decided to fuse it with the Disney-and-Vegas American look.

Go to Copenhagen or Stockholm or Germany and there are no Jesus-and-Marys in pulsing disco colours straddling the main street. Instead, they decorate the town squares with non-flashing bulbs of a single colour, brightening the place without inflicting epileptic fits upon the citizens. We seem to be cottoning on to their idea of Christmas markets. If only we could follow their lead when it comes to illumination.